SMASH makes its long-awaited return to the NBC lineup for a second season on Tuesday, February 5 (9-10 p.m. ET) and will continue in its regular time slot on Tuesday, February 12 (10-11 p.m. ET). Season 2 will feature a slew of new talent, including Jennifer Hudson, Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez, Sean Hayes, Jesse L. Martin, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Nikki Blonski, and more.
BroadwayWorld's own Richard Ridge was invited to the SMASH set where he got to chat with choreographer Josh Bergasse about the upcoming season. Check out what he had to say about winning his Emmy, having to choreograph for two musicals in Season two, and more, below!
Well, Season two. What can you tell us?
Well, for the choreography department, Season one was such a big undertaking. And it was so successful so it was a little daunting to figure out how we were going to make it even bigger and better for Season two. The writers have written this second show that you follow the trajectory of completely different Style choreographically than Bombshell was. Which was terrifying, because I was so comfortable with the Bombshell stuff. But it's not until a few episodes into the season that we actually start seeing choreography for the new show. So...I was so scared and I was so scared and I was so scared leading up to it and then...finally we did it and it just came pouring out of me. It's been really, really wonderful to dive into these new styles--we're doing hip hop, we're doing parkour, contemporary--yeah, it's pretty fantastic.
How did winning an Emmy change your--like, if someone wants to change the dance, do you say well, I won the Emmy?
You know, it's kind of funny. No, it's not quite like that, but it got me on a lot more conference calls which is good because I get to be more a part of the decision making at the higher levels. It also gives you confidence because last year it was scary. We have to move so fast, you make choices, try to believe in your choice and move on and go to the next thing. And I think when I did win the Emmy it kind of made me feel that I was going about it in the right way. I was at least constructing the dances and manipulating the schedule and the dancers and the actors in the right way, that it was successful.
Now you're wearing multiple hats because you're choreographing for Bombshell and HitList. If you're a choreographer for a Broadway show, you're focused on one thing, but you're choreographing Smash--what is that like wearing all these different hats and can you tell us a little bit about the genres?
Well, like I was saying before Bombshell is really classic Broadway, really based on those Jack Cole styles, jazz with Marilyn numbers and then HitList we are using parkour and hip hop and contemporary, and other styles of jazz and Broadway. And it's really kind of rock-y at time, sometimes [we use] dance music (like club music). So I've never been so forced to be creative so often. Every moment that I'm here or at home, I'm trying to figure out how am I going to make this different than the last episode or the last number in HitList? Or how do I separate this from Bombshell and make it completely different? And really, I've never used my brain quite so much as to try and figure out how to make everything new. And I thought I had to do it a lot last time, this time I feel like it's even more. But it's exhilarating because I don't spend a lot of time mulling over an idea or a number or a genre--I just keep moving forward, keep coming up with new stuff. And it's really exciting.